Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) chairman Eric Schmidt has told the U.S. Senate antitrust subcommittee that the Siri personal assistant technology is a significant development in search and could pose a threat to Google’s core business. These comments were in the form of a statement to the subcommittee in response to questions from the senators after a September hearing.
“Even in the few weeks since the hearing, Apple has launched an entirely new approach to search technology with Siri, its voice-activated search and task-completion service built into the iPhone 4S,” said Schmidt. Even Schmidt went as far as calling Siri a “Google killer” and Apple’s “entry point” into the search engine business.
Back in September 2010, Schmidt denied that Apple and Facebook were competitive threats to their business. “My statement was clearly wrong,” said Schmidt. “Apple?s Siri is a significant development?a voice-activated means of accessing answers through iPhones that demonstrates the innovations in search.”
“Google has many strong competitors and we sometimes fail to anticipate the competitive threat posed by new methods of accessing information,” added Schmidt. He pointed out that Google competes against search engines like Bing, Yahoo!, Kayak, Amazon.com, WebMD, eBay, Facebook, Twitter, Apple, and Microsoft.
Interestingly Android chief Andy Rubin dismissed Siri last month. Rubin said that he does not believe that phones should be assistants. Schmidt denied that Google has a dominant position in the smartphone market. He pointed out a study by comScore that Android operates only 34.1% while Apple iOS runs on 43.1%.